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tv   Dateline Extra  MSNBC  January 14, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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york in a few months so we'll set a date. and i let her know. i would like to film our conversation when we do. we set up our cameras in a room in the nbc offices and i wait for her to show up. i'm so glad you came. thank you. she tells me she adored her little brother and is here the make sure someone speaks for him. >> she tells me how her brother george was the youngest of five. >> he died the day of a my 20th birthday. >> the much loved baby boy of four older sisters. >> he played ball, little league for years. he loved it. we loved going to his games to watch him. >> she said she'll never forget when she heard what happened. she was at work. >> he said your brother has been shot. i don't know how bad it is.
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i just need to you get here. that was like the worst. the worst feeling. >> if there was any silver lining for her in those first weeks, she says it was that a suspect was quickly in custody. >> and you feel relief. but you want to be sure at the same time that they get the right person. i felt like, my sister felt like she needed more. >> so they decided to face man accused of their brother's murder and went to visit richard rosario in rikers island jail where he was awaiting trial. >> she said we want to talk to you and see what you have to say. his body language was, oh! he looked -- he couldn't look at us. he was like, i didn't do it. i was in florida. that's all he would say. he should have been like, i did not do this. i'm sorry this happened but it was not me. those words never came out of his mouth. it was just -- >> an angry denial. >> yes. >> so it wasn't what he was saying. it was how he was communicating it. >> correct. >> and that day my sister and i decided, yeah, they have right
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person. >> rosario didn't strike me as the friendliest guy either but why in the world would he treat the victim's family that way. i asked richard about that when he called me. richard? hi. i tell rosario what she said about meeting him. >> she said that she went to go visit you when you were arrested originally. do you remember that? >> yes, yes, i remember that. i just waited to be speaking to them. i gave them my condolences. that's one of the things i told them. i never met their brother. i was in florida. >> she said that you did not give her any condolences. she said you wouldn't look at her in the eye. you were rude.
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you were mean to her and kind of convinced her that you were guilty. >> wouldn't doubt it one bit that i may have come off as angry. but you know, wasn't necessarily toward them. all i know is i'm in prison for a crime i didn't commit. i can see how they could misconstrue that as me being angry toward them. >> well, his attitude certainly convinced her he was guilty. >> i believe he did it. i don't think he's innocent at all. >> so i wonder what she would think of all those alibi witnesses who say rosario was in florida. >> that's how i know that he is innocent. because -- >> she is not sold. >> no doubt in your mind. no doubt in my mind. >> i don't believe it. these are all people who knew
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him. >> i also show her what that eyewitness robert davis told me. >> the cop does tell me that. >> again, she's not buying it. >> years later, things can become confusing and imagine for somebody his age, how kit get. >> even though she believes rosario is guilty, she tells me something else that gets my attention even more. >> were you shocked that it happened? >> no. >> why? >> because he was scared. he knew something was going to happen. >> she insists her brother's murder was not the result of a random altercation and that the police and prosecutors got theory of the crime wrong. >> this is so ridiculous. >> ridiculous, she says, because george actually told her he was a target. that he knew someone was after him. which is the reason why she says george was found with a gun in his jacket when he was killed. >> the only reason why he had that gun, he was scared and he felt like maybe he could scare somebody off with it. he knew something would happen to him because he slammed that girl. >> just two weeks before his brother's murder, george slapped a girl from the neighborhood who he thought was disrespecting him. >> that's the first thing that came to your mind.
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>> the only thing he was scared of. >> tell me exactly what he told you. >> he said we went to her job and she said some nasty stuff to me and i smacked her. and she said she's going to take care of me for that. she said those words to him. >> you're absolutely convinced. >> absolutely. she is part of this. i know she is part of this. >> what was her name? >> i -- i don't remember. >> the slapping incident sounds like it could be important. but according to her, it is a lead the detectives did not vigorously investigate. >> no one ever interviewed you? >> no. >> the cops never interviewed you and asked but your brother's past? >> no. >> nobody in your family? >> no. >> was her brother's murder not random after all? that's next on "conviction." and when they save, you save. that's auto and home insurance for the modern world. esurance, an allstate company. click or call. esurance does insurance a smarter way, which saves money. like bundling home and auto coverage, which reduces red tape, which saves money.
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and when they save, you save. that's home and auto insurance for the modern world. esurance, an allstate company. click or call. hi, i'm frank. i take movantik for oic, opioid-induced constipation. had a bad back injury, my doctor prescribed opioids which helped with the chronic pain, but backed me up big-time. tried prunes, laxatives, still constipated... had to talk to my doctor. she said, "how long you been holding this in?" (laughs) that was my movantik moment. my doctor told me that movantik is specifically designed for oic and can help you go more often. don't take movantik if you have a bowel blockage or a history of them. movantik may cause serious side effects, including symptoms of opioid withdrawal, severe stomach pain and/or diarrhea, and tears in the stomach or intestine. tell your doctor about any side effects and about medicines you take. movantik may interact with them causing side effects. why hold it in? have your movantik moment.
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talk to your doctor about opioid-induced constipation. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. opioid-induced constipation. prescription opioids helped my chronic knee pain, but left me constipated. finally, i let it out. told my doctor. he said movantik may help me go more often. don't take movantik if you have or had a bowel blockage. serious side effects include opioid withdrawal, severe stomach pain, severe diarrhea, and stomach or intestinal tears. tell your doctor about side effects and medicines you take. movantik may interact with them causing side effects. have your movantik moment. talk to your doctor about opioid-induced constipation.
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excuse me. >> my investigation has taken a turn. >> this is so ridiculous.
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who has a get away car for something random? >> his sister says the official theory of the crime is wrong and she's not the first person i've heard say that. >> what is your gut saying about this? >> i don't think it is random. >> months earlier at the crime scene, the form he detective thought the same thing. >> to me it looks like a hit. a set-up. >> meaning george collazo was targeted to be killed. >> yes. >> bobby says his first clue, that getaway car parked at the corner. >> they pull up. and they happen to get the corner spot. >> a perfect place to wait until george showed up. >> let's play this out. if i'm sitting there, he can see
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you. if you're laying in wait, here they come. let's go. >> and it appears they may have been laying in wait. according to police reports, a hotdog vendor on that block said he saw the men around earlier that morning, and even told a passerby to be careful, that the men had guns. then there was that bump that supposedly started it all. >> it is not like you're walking in a tight area. okay? you're not walking where it is manhattan. you bump into people all the time. it is like you had to go out of your way to bump into each other. it is a wide open spot. >> and bobby says the way george was killed speaks volumes. >> shot once in the face point blank. this was personal. it was face to face. >> so if bobby is right and it was a hit, that means there was a plan. and that's why there's one key person we want to know more about. the main eyewitness, michael sanchez. >> if it's a hit, you have to know that the victim would be at that location where you parked
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your car. >> i'm just saying sanchez to me is not out of the realm of suspicion. >> he is a guy you would want to know more. >> i've been trying to find him for months to find out what he remembers. eventually someone connected to the case gives me his phone number and he answers on the first try. michael, this is dan, i'm a producer with nbc news. how are you? >> i'm good. this is not a good time. i'm at work. >> right away he tells me he's at work and asks me to call back in an hour. >> all right. i'll call you later. on i try a few times but he never answers. >> give me a call when you get a chance. i want to just chat with you. >> and i keep trying and trying. to this day, i have never heard back. >> to leave a call back number, press 5. >> maybe he doesn't want to talk to me about a horrible memory. to be clear, he has never been implicated in this crime and might not have anything to do with it at all. but to run with bobby's theory that sanchez might know more than he told police, consider this. remember that slapping incident the victim's sister told me about? >> he was scared. he knew something was going to happen to him because he slapped that girl. >> the one that happened two
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weeks before her brother's murder? this is where the plot thickens. michael's girlfriend. >> she said that girl was michael sanchez' girlfriend at the time. >> but here's something i find even more interesting. the original detectives knew about the shaping incident back then. it is all documented in their reports. in fact, it was michael sanchez who told them about it. in his interview with police, he said that george and his girlfriend did not get along so the detectives actually went and spoke with her. in her interview she said she filed a harassment report two weeks before the murder with the police department. so now i'm going to get my hands on that report. >> i file a freedom of information request with the nypd and about a month later, i get a letter denying me the report. so i called a lawyer from the nypd to follow up. >> i have filed a freedom of information request. he tells never only one who can get it is lymari leon so i tracked her down.
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>> i speak with her a few times. she declines to go on camera but tells me, michael sanchez was just a friend. >> hi. how are you? >> and she has no idea who killed george or why he slammed her two weeks before the murder. she said she doesn't remember filing a harassment report about with it the nypd. >> what they said to me, if you request it, you can get it. >> when i tell her i know it exists, she assures me that she'll help me get it. that's when i stop hearing from lymari. i'm definitely interested in finding out more about that slapping incident and i'm trying to get my hands on that report. i'm on my way to speak with richard's current attorneys. they run an organization called the exoneration that focuses on claim innocence. >> this case smells terrible and it looks like a terrible injustice has occurred. >> you have to like glance at the case to understand how significant it is. >> glenn and rebecca are the
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latest of nearly a dozen appellate attorneys who have volunteered to help rosario overturn the conviction. >> this case has gone all the way to the united states supreme court and he has been denied over and over again. what makes you think that you can do something different than every other attorney? >> what's the babe ruth comment? >> it is hard to beat someone who never gives up. >> and we're in the bronx, by the way. >> glenn and rebecca needed a hook. something new to convince a judge to grant rosario another day in court. i wonder about that slapping incident. something rosario's original jury never heard about. >> i'm really intrigued by that. that to me seems like a little
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more of a motive than a random bump in the street. it didn't seem like the detectives vigorously investigated that, did they? >> it is my understanding that they did not do very much to follow up on it. >> the attorneys tell me they don't know much about it either but believe they found something even more important. when they began to focus a woman named nicole torres. >> nicole torres was a witness originally interviewed by the police at the scene of the crime. who never testified at trial. >> nicole torres went to school with both the victim george collazo and his friend michael sanchez. according to this police report, she appeared on the scene just minutes after george was shot. >> the 28 police report was written around nicole torres is as if she was an immaterial witness who didn't see anything or hear anything. >> but that's not what glenn and rebecca heard when they spoke with her in person. nearly two decades after the murder, nicole signed this affidavit swearing that police report was wrong. in fact, she now says she was right there and saw the whole thing. the gunman, the getaway car. she even heard what the killer
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said. >> she saw the killer jog up behind them and say, hey, george, this is for you, before shooting george collazo in the head once. then she saw him turn around and jog to an intersection where there was a car waiting. >> much of the police report from nicole torres' interview on the day of the crime is blacked out, redacted. but in the file, rebecca found an unredacted copy of the report that had been from years later. >> in the redacted version of the police report, it is hard to even tell who is speaking. when you see the unredacted version, you see that she told the police, michael sanchez said to her at the scene of the crime, he didn't see the shooter. >> but remember, michael sanchez was the first one who pointed to rosario's picture a few hours after the shooting.
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>> that is a significant piece of information and certainly a defense attorney would want that information so they can cross examine sanchez to show to a jury to show that he is not credible. >> glenn and rebecca believe they now have enough to ask a judge to reopen rosario's case to hold a hearing and call witnesses. and they file a motion at bronx supreme court. the bronx d.a. responded to rosario's motion, writing that his office voluntarily began a reinvestigation and that both eyewitnesses, michael sanchez and michael davis, remain steadfast that rosario was the gunman. and in a footnote, the d.a. said rosario's purported alibi evidence had already been exhaustively evaluated and rejected. so no one from the d.a.'s office contacted them. with rosario's fate now in the hands of a judge, his family has new hope that they'll be reunited. for now, all they can do is wait. that's next on "conviction." oh, it's like my father always told me --
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"put that down. that's expensive." of course i save people an average of nearly $600, but who's gonna save me? [ voice breaking ] and that's when i realized... i'm allergic to wasabi. well, i feel better. it's been five minutes. talk about progress. [ chuckles ] okay.
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it's been ten months since i first heard rosario's kids in florida. >> you're at the airport.
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you're about to get on a plane soon, hopefully go see our father in new york. >> i'm curious what visits are like for them them agree to let me tag along and i offer to drive them to the prison. >> i don't know if this relationship you have with him, you live in a different state. theon way you've known him is in prison. and yet, you keep coming up. keep flying up. what is it that keeps that bond so tight? >> despite that i was not able to see him when i was little, i always got a card, i always got -- i got so much from him when i was a little girl. >> he always made it clear that he was our father. >> and that he loved us. >> as the miles roll by, the kids open up more and more. >> you know, life would have been really different if my father weren't around.
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as a boy, you go to your father for guidance, for help. he's another man in your household. >> i see how painful this is for them. i wonder, have they ever talked with their dad how it is growing up without him? amanda's answer surprises me. >> i haven't talked with him ever about it. >> do you have any feeling in your gut when you see this prison over this hill? >> nerve-racking. >> yeah. i get butterflies. i get nervous. >> inside the prison's visiting room, the kids to have wait like they always do for their dad to be processed. >> oh, man. i'm getting nervous. >> they often sing to themselves while they wait. the kids tell me it calms them.
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♪ >> i realize, they only know their father from their time together at a table in a prison's visiting room. >> hi, dad. >> what's up? what's going on? >> how was your trip? >> it was good. >> after some small talk and catching up, amanda brings up the topic they've always avoided. >> on the way over here we were talking about, we've never really expressed individually how this whole thing has affected us.
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>> i can't even come up with the words. >> it breaks my heart every time i have to come here. to see you here. why is he here? that's the biggest thing the is my father. >> it's different with, you know, us. it wasn't like i was a deadbeat dad. i was there. you don't remember a lot of things. i used to take you to parks and just be us. here's a picture i got.
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right here. >> i used to look at that all the time. i have that one. >> yeah? how do you feel about all this? >> i get anxiety before i come up. i get depressed when i leave. i try to stay positive and i appreciate the calls and the letters. and i thank god that i can at least visit you. but it's hard. i hated it over the phone. i feel like the older i get, the worse it gets for me. >> i'm going to die on my feet fighting for my freedom, for my children. that's what i'll keep doing the rest of my life, whether i'm here or out there. that's what you have to do.
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you want to talk about this any time, how you feel, life in general, we can talk. about anything. you don't have to feel no shame. i've cried plenty of times. because i love my family. that's one thing that i'm glad. it's like i tell your mother. she's the best thing that happened in my life. because through her, i have you guys. so me and your mother did something good in life. i did something good in life. and despite what i'm going through, i hang on to that. >> their visit isn't all deep and serious. they talk about the things any normal family would. and then all too soon, it's time. >> a court will now decide if he will be reunited with his kids outside prison walls. >> i've been waiting for them to do the right thing for 19 years. until then, i'm cautiously optimistic. that's next on "conviction."
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[captain rod] happy tuesday morning! captain rod here. it's pretty hairy out on the interstate.traffic is literally crawling, but there is some movement on the eastside overpass. getting word of another collision. [burke] it happened. december 14th, 2015. and we covered it. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
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afoot and light-hearted i take to the open road. healthy, free, the world before me, the long brown path before me leading wherever i choose. the east and the west are mine. the north and the south are mine. all seems beautiful to me.
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parts of the central united states are dealing with a dangerous icestorm. kansas and missouri could see a third wave of snow and sleet tomorrow. and donald trump, this after lewis called trump an illegitimate president. trump tweeting a couple hours ago that lewis should focus on crime infested iner cities, adding i can use all the help i can get. now back to ""dateline" conviction. it's been a full year since i stood in the office of richard rosario's lawyer, rebecca. >> last time i spoke to you it was about a year ago. >> we are waiting for the judge's decision. >> you were saying that you had high hopes. >> now the judge has made his decision.
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>> tell me what happened. >> our motion was denied. without a hearing. the judge said there's not enough here for me to even give you your day in court. >> denied. in his decision, the judge wrote that rosario already had his day in court, referring back to that 2004 hearing where seven of his alibi witnesses testified and were rejected. the judge called that hearing extensive and ruled that rosario's new motion to vacate his conviction is denied in all respects. the bronx d.a. denied an interview but i got this interview from his office pointing out the long list of unsuccessful appeals. all the way to the u.s. supreme court. >> there is richard's stuff all over here. >> can you describe what it feels like to work on a case that long, know the case the way
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you know and it have it denied? >> it is incredibly frustrating. i think it is the best way to put it. it is sad. it's dismissive of richard's life. this isn't just a name. richard never actually appeared in court before this judge. we tried to get this judge to bring him to court. look at his face and see this is a man. this is a person. this is not just a name on a piece of paper. >> so it's 2016. it's been about two years since i first made this drive up to see richard rosario. things are a little different now than they were then. i know a lot more about his story. he had hope last time i interviewed him that he would get another day in court.
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but his appeal has been denied. and i wonder how that is affecting him. a lot of barbed wire. he is in a new prison here. one night he was told to pack up his stuff and moved which must be stress on top of stress. mr. rosario. good to see you again. >> you look almost as nervous as the first time we did this. are you? >> i'm always nervous about this. being on camera. >> why? >> i'm not used to it. you're used to it. >> listen, just be yourself. just speak the truth. >> of course. >> that's all that matters, right? so we first spoke on camera two years ago. you've never been worried about what we would find. >> no. >> not for one moment. >> not for one moment. i've been an open book since the beginning. >> how many facilities have you been in? >> 11. >> 11 different facilities.
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you've been locked up for 20 years. >> 20 years. >> and you just had your latest appeal denied. >> yeah. >> how do you process that? how do you deal with that? >> i've been through it so many times. so my bar of expectation is so low. but it hurts. you get denied and then i want a visit with my wife and i can't even look at her. i don't want this for her. so it's difficult. >> rosario believes the people who put him away must know he's innocent by now. and just won't own up to it. >> we are dealing with people that don't want to say we made a mistake. nobody wants to say that. it was easier for them to just close the case and give somebody some semblance of peace, which is the victim's family. but they caused them more harm. and god knows what happened with this guy who did it. he's still running the street and how many other victims since. >> rosario's fight continues. his lawyers have filed yet another appeal. asking a higher court to grant
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him a new hearing. with everything that's now known about the murder of george collazo, rosario's attorney glenn is livid that his client still sits in prison. >> when people see this, they don't get it. what do you make of it? >> we live in a world that is upside down where juryists who have sworn to uphold justice is have sworn to uphold justice don't do it. they look for ways to turn a blind eye to this [ bleep ] and it is [ bleep ] gross. that's why. it's not rational. so don't ask us to give you a rational answer. >> in january, 2016, after serving for nearly 30 years, robert johnson stepped down as the bronx district attorney. the new d.a. is dorsel clark. she had been an appellate judge for years and she come from the same neighborhood where the murder happened.
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rosario's attorneys immediately ask for a new hearing and just two weeks before she took office, the incoming d.a. agreed to hear what they had to say. >> to me, it struck me as an important day. >> it is a potentially important today. that we have an audience with the district attorney to be, is huge. we're hoping she will be receptive and justice can be served quickly. >> justice. a word richard rosario says doesn't apply to him. whether or not he had his freedom stolen. one thing for me at least is certain. he's never lost his conviction. >> i'm never going to lose hopeful they have to take me out of here in a box. i'll never lose hope. no matter how long i'm here. >> less than two months after that interview with him, the case that seemed so dead suddenly had new life. a twist that no one saw coming.
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that was my movantik moment. my doctor told me that movantik is specifically designed for oic and can help you go more often. don't take movantik if you have a bowel blockage or a history of them. movantik may cause serious side effects, including symptoms of opioid withdrawal, severe stomach pain and/or diarrhea, and tears in the stomach or intestine. tell your doctor about any side effects and about medicines you take. movantik may interact with them causing side effects. why hold it in? have your movantik moment. talk to your doctor about opioid-induced constipation. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. opioid-induced constipation. prescription opioids helped my chronic knee pain, but left me constipated. finally, i let it out. told my doctor. he said movantik may help me go more often. don't take movantik if you have or had a bowel blockage. serious side effects include opioid withdrawal, severe stomach pain, severe diarrhea, and stomach or intestinal tears. tell your doctor about side effects and medicines you take.
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it's now march 2016. two months since i last spoke with richard rosario. and we're about a week away from publishing this report when i hear some big news. the bronx d.a. has recently sent investigators to florida to speak with rosario's alibi witnesses. so i called one of them to find out more. >> what did they say? >> well, they were just questioning and they recorded the conversation. >> remember fernando torres? he's the pastor and father of sheriff john torres. he says four investigators from new york were at his home in florida that very morning. >> did they interview and you margarita? >> yes. and they were taking turns. they were going over to the other people and then they were going check my son out to palm beach.
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>> maybe the timing of all this is just a coincidence. then just a few days later, there is even bigger news. so here i am working on the final touches of this series when i get a call from richard's lawyer saying the d.a.'s office is going to 58 date conviction against him just like that. i called the d.a.'s office and they said they now believe he didn't get a fair trial. that means richard is walking out of prison a free man and that's happening in the next couple of days. >> and almost as if it was destined, rosario's wife and his kids happened to be in new york visiting him this very day. >> 20 years and i've never seen my father outside of prison. >> rosario's lawyers at the exoneration hearing had just broken the news and minerva is overwhelmed. >> to hear that he will be released after 20 years.
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i mean, just so many emotions tied to that. >> just 24 hours later, and richard rosario is about to be a free man for the first time in 20 years. as the press assembles in the courtroom, across the street, i meet with darcel clark, the bronx district attorney. the first time anyone from that office has agreed to go on the record with me since i began looking into this case. >> i presided as a judge in this county for 13 of my 16 years on the bench. now i'm the chief law enforcement officer for the entire borough. >> you grew up right here. >> whole life of the bronx. i'm a daughter of the bronx. >> she's actually made history. she is the first african-american woman to be a district attorney in the state of new york. >> as we're sitting here right now speaking, folks from your office are driving richard rosario from prison to the courthouse to be released. >> yes. >> why are you doing that? >> well, before i took office, i met with the exoneration
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initiative about mr. rosario. and it came to my attention that they had an appeal and the answer was due. so before i did anything else on mr. rosario's case, i thought it was necessary to do the preliminary steps of investigating the case. or the allegations. he had an alibied defense that was never investigated. the first thing i did was let's investigate the alibi. >> it sounds so simple the way she says it. >> you said why don't we call them? >> no. i sent somebody down. >> you sent somebody down to talk to them. >> yes. >> why has that not happened in 20 years? >> i cannot speak for that. i've been the district attorney since january 1. >> was it surprising to you? that no one from the bronx d.a.'s office or the nypd, no one in law enforcement has ever reached out to those alibi witnesses until last week when you did it. >> i have to say, i was surprised. i was surprised.
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>> and it didn't take long for her to conclude richard rosario did not get a fair trial. but that doesn't mean she believes he's innocent. >> richard rosario called me last night. i spoke with him last night. and he is obviously extraordinarily thankful that he's going to be reunited with his family. he told me he felt cheated, disappointed because you're not exonerating him. why not? >> well, because there still needs to be more investigation. i didn't have a chance to thoroughly investigate every aspect of his defense as well as continuing to investigate the crime itself. i need a chance to investigate it more. but in the meantime, there is no reason for him to have to wait behind bars in order for me to continue the investigation. >> from rosario's perspective, he said i've never changed my story. it is obvious i'm innocent. now this is hanging over my head. how does he move on? >> i hope he can do that by the fact that he is no longer in state prison.
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i think that he can be reassured that now that i am the district attorney and i am reviewing his case, that i will doing just that. and i think that i've demonstrated the sincerity of the work and the integrity behind the work that this office is doing. >> just a few minutes away from richard coming out. there is a ton of press here which is surprising. there is no one who was really interested in this case for 20 years. we're going to see what happens. as his family looks organization rosario is led into the courtroom.
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shackled. >> your honor i was going to ask if the cuffs can be taken off. >> the cuffs are quickly removed. and the attorney now says they now believe richard rosario did not receive a fair trial. >> we can see the defendant did not receive effective assistance of counsel. we can release him on his own recognizance. >> but he knows he's not off the hook just yet. he still faces a possible retrial and is due back in court in june to hear what the d.a. will do. >> the jury is still allowed on the d.a.'s office with regard to this wrongful conviction. and i hope that she will do the right thing to exonerate me. i've been in prison for 20 years for a crime i didn't commit. my family didn't deserve, this i didn't deserve this, nor did the victim's family nor the victim. it is vacated but exoneration is
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given to me. >> the ruling is here by ordered that the defendant's motion is granted. you are here by released. [ applause ] >> just like that, unthinkable a few months earlier, richard rosario is now a free man. he walks out of the courthouse with his family. subdued. only interested in naming other inmates who he believes are innocent. >> free johnny velasquez. >> who knows what the future holds for richard rosario? for now he heads to florida to be with his family and wait while the bronx' d.a.'s office continues to investigate and decide if it will retry him. rosario will be back in court in a few months to learn his fate. that's next on "conviction." not back. it's looking up not down. it's feeling up thinking up living up. it's being in motion...
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it's june 2016, 20 years since the murder. richard rosario has been out of prison for just over two months now and i have come to florida to visit him and his family. within 24 hours of getting out of prison a couple months ago, richard came down here to florida to live with his wife, minerva and his kids amanda and richard jr. even though rosario's conviction was thrown out, there is still a criminal case pending against him. i want to know what life has been like for rosario and how he's adjusting after spending two decades in a maximum security prison. he meets me outside the condo where the rosarios are now living. first of all, this is quite a picture, right, of the four of you sitting together. >> yep. >> i catch up with the family in their kitchen. first, can you describe what it's like to be in a cell for 20 years, then come home?
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>> i can't even describe it. i know that i woke up one night, i was with my wife and i was sleeping and i woke up in the middle of the night and jumped up and the door wasn't locked, i was going to be running right out of there. i didn't know where i was. >> you were disoriented. >> yeah. the first night, the second night, the third night. weeks later i still have the effects of what i went through. >> his family tells me it's been tough for them since richard's come home. prison has hardened him, they say, and they are learning to connect in a whole new way. >> our journey, we have a long way to go. we are going to do it. we are going to make it. it's not easy because to say that this is easy and that love conquers everything, that's not the case. it's a matter of us growing together and being able to walk through this and being able to understand each other and respect each other. >> to have them around the house and stuff, every day interacting and stuff like that, it's
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different than just visiting someone or calling someone on the phone, definitely. >> it's much different having him here every day than having a 30-minute phone call. for me, i feel like we're building a whole new relationship. >> amanda and richard and my wife, including my wife, they wanted their richard back. here we are 20 years later, they are adults and i'm not the same man. >> rosario says he's doing all he can to make up for lost time. playing basketball with his son. simply enjoying a meal with his wife. but what he knows he can't get back is watching his kids grow up. toddlers when he went away. now amanda and richard jr. are budding musicians. the kids wrote a song for their dad. they play it for me in their makeshift studio. ♪ i wanted to experience this
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world with you by my side ♪ ♪ hear you cheer for me from the sidelines ♪ ♪ hold me and tell me it's going to be all right ♪ >> nice. >> beautiful. >> that was great. >> that's what i'm talking about. >> but it isn't over for richard rosario. he says all he wants is the d.a. to say publicly that he could not have killed george calazzo. >> i'm innocent and i'm home. it could have been easy to just forget about this but i can't. you call me a murderer, release me 20 years later and that's it? no. it's unacceptable. >> you want the d.a.'s office or the court to recognize mr. rosario, you are actually innocent. >> yes, absolutely. >> it's june 23rd, 2016. rosario is back in new york for the first time since his release.
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tomorrow, he will be heading back to court to learn his fate. we meet up with him at chip loewenson's office, one of rosario's attorneys who has been by his side for more than a decade. you have court tomorrow. >> yes. >> how you feeling about that? >> i'm feeling confident. the truth is on my side. >> what do you think is going to happen? >> i have no idea. i have no clue. >> are you nervous at all? >> no. not at all. >> he says he's confident that anyone who looks at the facts of his case can only come to one conclusion. so what does the district attorney think about that? so it's been almost three months to the day actually. >> yes. >> since we last spoke. she agrees to sit down with me again on the eve of the hearing. when we last spoke, you said your office needed more time to investigate. have you done that? >> yes, we have. >> what have you learned? >> we have thoroughly interviewed a number of witnesses, his alibi witnesses, re-interviewed our witnesses,
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just every single angle we looked into. i don't feel now that i would be able to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and that is the burden of proof that i must satisfy. >> but you are not saying that he's innocent. >> what i'm saying is that i can't prove that he's guilty. >> i ask her about rosario's insistence that she simply acknowledge that he's innocent. >> i can understand his disappointment, but this is how it's going to work in his particular case. he's presumed innocent. he does not have to prove he's innocent. he is innocent. so if i can't prove him guilty, then he remains innocent. >> so what about other leads? >> the case is still under investigation. i'm not ending the investigation. i'm ending the case against mr. rosario. >> or so she thought. the next day in court, an assistant district attorney gets right to the point. >> in light of the people's inability to meet the burden at trial, the district attorney
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moves to dismiss all charges against mr. rosario in the interest of justice. >> then rosario and his lawyers stand up and stun the courtroom. >> i would like to express my condolences to the family of the deceased but the bottom line here is that their son deserves justice, their family deserves closure and the public deserves the truth. i have been in prison for 20 years saying that i'm innocent. i have been transparent and forthcoming with information to prove my innocence and the public should know the truth. >> that's when rosario's lawyer actually asks the judge not to dismiss rosario's case. until the d.a. says on the record that he didn't commit the murder. the judge says this is a first for him. >> an open homicide case, you will hang this over your head. you understand that? >> yes. >> the judge tells everyone to come back in august to sort it out. outside court, george's father doesn't mince words about how he feels about richard rosario. >> he goes around saying he's
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innocent. he's lying to you and he's lying to the public. >> i also catch up with rosario to ask about what just happened. they just tried to dismiss a murder indictment against you and you said no, thanks. >> yeah. no, because the truth is important to me and it should be important to the community and to the victim's family. >> it's november 2016 and even though the judge said he wanted everybody back in august, it's taken five months to resolve the case, and it was only resolved last week so now richard is here at his attorney's office. i'm going to go up and talk to him. see how he's feeling about all this. here's what happened. the judge officially dismissed the case against richard rosario but the d.a. never said that rosario couldn't have been the killer. instead, in a statement, she said we have concluded that since we would be unable to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the case should not be retried.
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and the d.a. said the investigation into the killing will continue. sir? so it's eight months since you've been out. last we left you, you stood up in court in june and said don't dismiss my murder indictment until you find me innocent. what happened? >> i wanted to get completely exonerated. the fact that i did that wasn't with any intent of thumbing my nose at people. i just wanted the truth. i wanted the transparency of the facts of what happened in my case, who was involved in my wrongful conviction. i wanted that to come out. it didn't but it's still victory nevertheless. >> for sure, it's been a long road for everyone involved with this case. even though rosario wasn't cleared the way he wanted to be, it's now over and he says it was worth the wait. >> my whole point of standing up is just letting the system know that this problem that's going on across the country with wrongful convictions is just
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something that has to stop. so i took that stance and regardless of their conclusions, america knows i'm innocent. i know i'm innocent. finally i can move on with my life. due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. an inmate launches an attack on another, leaving the man battered, bloody and on his way to the emergency room. >> he wasn't my friend, i wouldn't continue to maul him. >> now a detective must get to the bottom of it. >> i have seen several fights now in the jail. this was i would say the worst one i've seen. i compare it to the mma fight. >> and the pastor hopes to get to the heart of it.
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